Local residents cross a destroyed bridge as they evacuate from their town in Irpin near Kyiv, Ukraine, March 7, 2022. Jedrzej Nowicki/Agencja Wyborcza.pl via REUTERS
March 8, 2022
By Pavel Polityuk and Natalia Zinets
LVIV, Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukrainian civilians and foreign students with bags and backpacks fled the besieged city of Sumy in buses and cars on Tuesday in the first successful “humanitarian corridor” opened since the Russian invasion.
Ukraine accused Russian forces of shelling an evacuation route – from Mariupol in southern Ukraine – but the Sumy regional governor said a temporary ceasefire had lasted long enough for at least two vehicle convoys to exit the northeastern city.
The first evacuation convoy encountered a column of more than 160 Russian military vehicles coming towards them on the road, Sumy governor Dmytro Zhyvytsky said in TV commentaries.
“Our column stopped at the side of the road and let the vehicles through, then continued on our way,” he said.
People patiently stood on the snowy ground in Sumy, waiting for the evacuation buses. Many had packed as many belongings as possible into a single bag, and some had their children with them. All were wrapped in warm winter clothes.
Around 1,000 foreign students were among the first wave of evacuations, Zhyvytsky said.
Some civilians were also evacuated from the town of Irpin near the capital Kyiv. There were no reports of them coming under fire in Irpin, two days after Reuters witnesses said residents trying to flee were hit by Russian shelling.
But Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said the Mariupol evacuation route came under fire and local officials said people have been unable to leave the city, which has been under shelling for over a week without water and electricity.
“Truce violated!” Nikolenko wrote on Twitter. “Pressure on Russia MUST be increased to make it honor its commitments.”
There were no immediate reports of casualties and Nikolenko gave no further details. Russia did not immediately comment on his statements.
Civilians have been locked in fighting since Russian troops invaded Ukraine on February 24. Mariupol humanitarian corridors failed on Saturday and Sunday, with each side accusing the other of continuing to fire.
Ukraine refused to use humanitarian corridors offered by Russia that would have brought Ukrainians to Russian or Belarusian territory.
Ukrainian officials say food, water and other supplies are running low in some of the besieged towns, and some have warned of a “humanitarian disaster”.
Moscow calls its actions in Ukraine a “military special operation” to disarm its neighbor and denies attacking civilians.
(Additional reporting by Max Hunder, writing by Timothy Heritage, editing by Matthias Williams)
https://www.oann.com/ukrainians-flee-some-besieged-areas-through-humanitarian-corridors/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ukrainians-flee-some-besieged-areas-through-humanitarian-corridors Ukrainians flee besieged city of Sumy through ‘humanitarian corridor’